With so many great wineries in such a small area, it’s hardly surprising the people of Mudgee are so happy and friendly. For a visitor, the only problem is which wineries to visit first. For a must-see cheat sheet, here are our top 3 cellar doors you must visit.
Mudgee is about a 3 ½-hour drive north-west from Sydney over the Blue Mountains. Right in the rural regions of eastern Australia, this little town has drawn the focus of us city slickers – and for good reason.
With the ever-growing popularity of ‘the food scene’, Mudgee has some amazing edible options on offer. By lucky chance (or skilled choice) the settlers of the region set up shop in a place where everything seems to just grow!
As you drive through the area, you’re just surrounded by incredible views of distant green hills and close-to vineyards. The sight of the row upon row of grape vines strung out across the acreage had us keen to try a drop of local vino before we’d even got to our digs – check out the Mudgee Homestead Guesthouse for the best place to stay and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in!
With over 50 wineries in the Mudgee area to choose from, it’s a hard task to either a) get through them all – a noble yet probably quite dangerous quest or b) choose a few absolute winners to go to.
Well, here are our top three winery recommendations, sanctioned by quite a few of the locals we spoke to:
Probably the smallest cellar door we’ve ever been to, Skimstone’s ‘tasting shack’ is also definitely the most adorable. At the end of a dusty road, the shack over-looks the Cudgegong Valley, a river and the rolling lines of grape vines.
The shack itself is too small to hold more than about 6 people. That’s ok though because the guys who run the winery prefer to go out onto the little porch to show their wines.
They have a great little range of wines. They even have a drinkable chardonnay that’s clean, crisp and very unlike a chardonnay. But their sangiovese is a top drop and worth buying.
Owned and manned by the Moore family, this has to be one of the friendliest cellar doors we’ve been to. It’s situated on a hill over-looking the vineyard and surrounding valleys, so the views from the veranda are amazing.
We only stopped by to try their wine, but you can also grab a bite to eat at Moothi as well. They do cheese boards, ploughman’s, and some great sounding Moothi wine pies during winter as well.
As for their wine, once again not a huge selection, but the wine they do make here is really good. Their Rocky Waterhole Road Shiraz is great and their rosé’s pretty good as well.
This winery has really been designed with visitors in mind. You drive up to the cellar door through the fields of grape vines. The owner, David Lowe, has worked hard to make this certified organic winery more than just a place to come and try some wine.
Obviously the focus is around wine, but food also features very strongly here. The entrance to the cellar door feels more like a pub beer garden than a winery, with lots of people sitting outside, relaxing, trying wine and eating.
This cellar door very much reminded me of some of the places we went in Sonoma in California. And I suppose that’s appropriate as one of Lowe’s main grape varieties is Zinfadel, popular on the west coast of the States.
Top Lunch Spot
I should also point out that if you drive a bit further round from the Lowe cellar door, you’ll find the Zin House. This is a restaurant run by owner/chef Kim Currie, and it’s one of the most perfect settings for lunch we’ve found. They grow as many ingredients on site as they can, and the Zin House veggie patch out the front is an amazing resource for their dishes.
The lunch itself is a 6-course degustation meal, and you can add a matching wine flight with each dish as well. As you’d expect, the wines are all from Lowe. It’s a pretty unique place to have a meal like this amidst the very vines where the wine you’re drinking come from.
Gilbert Wines is on our list for the next time we’re in Mudgee. This looks like a beautiful family-run winery set in the beautiful Mudgee countryside. Thanks to Ross Maher from Twenty Five Doors for the tip.
Twenty Five Doors is a brainwave of a wine membership programme that guides you round wine regions so you don’t miss the best bits, which are usually hidden from view. Check it out here.
Mudgee is a great spot with so much happening in the food and drink scene all the time. Here are some other things you can do in Mudgee – our post on 5 reasons why you need to visit Mudgee right now.
And if you haven’t been to many cellar doors before – or you’re an old hand but fancy checking to see if you’re doing it right – here are our top 15 tips for wine tasting at the cellar door.
Do you have a favourite cellar door? What do you look for when choosing a winery to visit? Tell us in the comments!